Jacob Shamsian

Your Face in Mine


What if you could change your race? That’s the question in Your Face in Mine, in which racial reassignment surgery turns Martin, a white Jewish dude, into a black man. Row challenges our understanding of how much of our identity we’re born with and how much we choose. The novel meanders at times, but its central conceit and Martin’s exploration lead to some thoughtful insights. B

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The Terrorist's Son


When Ebrahim was a boy, his father killed a rabbi and helped plan the 1993 World Trade Center bombing from his prison cell. The radical Muslim community in which Ebrahim was raised expected him to follow in his dad’s footsteps, but he rejected that fate. In his powerful, affecting memoir (written with former EW deputy editor Jeff Giles), he says, ”My father lost his way — but that didn’t stop me from finding mine.” A-

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10:04: A NOVEL Ben Lerner

The unnamed narrator of Lerner’s second novel, much like Lerner himself, is the toast of literary New York. The glowing reviews for his first book and a short story in The New Yorker lead to a huge advance for his second tome. To keep the momentum going, his agent suggests that he write it for a wider audience. However, the real Lerner (Leaving the Atocha Station) shuns commercialism for a funny, deeply observational metafictional romp. A

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Ellen Burstyn will make directorial debut with 'Bathing Flo'

Ellen Burstyn

Image Credit: Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic

Eighty-one-year-old actress Ellen Burstyn will direct and star in Bathing Flo. The movie, which has nothing to do with the esteemed spokeswoman for Progressive car insurance, is about a man who’s suddenly unemployed and evicted, but is able to house sit in exchange for free rent. However, to his surprise, he also has to share a roof with Flo, the house owner’s eccentric, elderly mother.

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Viggo Mortensen's Cannes winner 'Jauja' gets U.S. distribution


The Viggo Mortensen-starring ‘Jauja’ finally has U.S. distribution—Cinema Guild has slated the film for an early 2015 release. The movie is set in a Patagonian military outpost during the genocidal campaign against the native Patagonian population in the last 1800s. Mortensen plays a former captain whose teenage daughter falls in love and runs away with a young soldier.

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Mr. Turner

MR. TURNER Timothy Spall

Director Mike Leigh’s movie follows the last 25 years of the prolific early-19th-century British seascape painter J.M.W. Turner (Timothy Spall), when he courts a lover, rejects another, and helps lay the foundations for impressionism. Before playing the role, Spall spent two years brushing up on his painting skills. ”I came to the conclusion that by the end of it, I could paint as well as Turner could when he was about 8,” says Spall, who’s probably best known as Peter Pettigrew in the Harry Potter series.

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Toronto Film Festival completes lineup


Image Credit: Atsushi Nishijima

The lineups for the Mavericks, Discovery, and TIFF Kids parts of the Toronto Film Festival were announced, wrapping up a series of lineup announcements for the Toronto International Film Festival.

With the added films, the festival’s entire slate is now a whopping 393 movies. Two hundred eighty-five of those movies are feature films, of which 143 are world premieres.

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